Practical–this lesson is totally practical!
Mike Cleveland shows that an eating “accident” (outside of our God-given boundaries) happens when a series of mini-events, one upon another, results in the “wreck.” He shares about how his job as an airplane pilot causes him to read and analyze airplane wrecks in the past. His eye is on how to avoid the same pitfalls that resulted in the accidents. This has caused him to see that most airplane wrecks happen following a chain of events.
He asks the participant to then evaluate what are the links in the chain that lead to an eating “wreck” in their life. This is mine:
1. Usually there is an emotional trigger, disappointment, frustration of some kind.
2. Usually I am doing something without a focus–my mind is free to wander. This may be watching a movie with the family, or surfing the internet.
3. I begin to think about the food, what it would taste like, how good it will be, that “I deserve it,” and entertain thoughts of justifying why this wouldn’t really be outside of my boundaries.
4. Hardening of my heart to God by resisting thoughts of him.
5. Getting up and going into the kitchen.
6. Eating it.
Mr. Cleveland’s suggestion is that at any point in this chain, we can break the link…and this will derail the head-on collision with sinful eating.
For instance, in my own example, here are some ideas about how I could change things up:
1. When the emotional trigger hits, I can truth journal. This is something taught in Barb Raveling’s Freedom From Emotional Eating workbook. I have blogged about this process previously. Basically, truth journaling includes writing about how I feel about what is going on, what I want to do about it and then prayerfully evaluating what I have written and what of my thoughts are lies and which are truths…then writing out a corresponding truth for each lie to combat the lie and refuse to be duped by it.
2. There are a few ways of changing this one…If I am doing something mindless, I can be prayerful as I sit down to do it. Surely, a movie with my family isn’t something I need to *stop* doing necessarily, but I can do it *differently*–prayerfully aware of my vulnerability and seeking God with a humble heart!
I realized when I looked over a week’s worth of reports to my accountability partner that my violation of my 0 to 5 eating boundary was happening consistently while watching a movie with my family. While not watching movies could be one way of handling it, I don’t prefer to do that as time with my family is important to me. We do incorporate other things to do together into our lives and that is one way of handling this.
Another way of handling this is a recommitment to the boundary of not eating when the screen is on. If I eat, it must be at the table with nothing else happening (one of the keys to conscious eating from the Thin Within book). It isn’t likely that I will announce to the family “Turn off the show for 5 minutes while I eat” unless I am at a 0! 🙂
3. If I find myself beginning to think about food I want and other thoughts that are heading toward a “crash,” I will take what little strength I have and breathe a prayer, “Lord, change my want to!” I can also choose to take captive my thoughts and make them obedient to Christ. Applying what yesterday’s lesson was about, I can choose to take my focus OFF of the food and OFF of indulging my flesh, and put it ON Christ and HIS sacrifice…all HE has done for me to free me from the hold of sin. Of all of these ideas, this one is, perhaps, the toughest, so it is best if I can stop the chain before it gets to this third link.
4. If I can sense that I am hardening my heart to God by resisting thoughts of him, it is time to get on my knees! This is that tough moment…where my choice makes or breaks me. This little moment is where indiscretion or a godly choice are made. Last night, I felt it so clearly. It really was a single solitary moment when I chose to say NO to the temptation…and YES to God. Once the choice was made relief came! I was free from the hold of food (in that moment). My choice *softened* my heart further to the Lord instead of *hardened* my heart further. This is one reason why I believe so strongly that it isn’t about the food. It is about what happens in my heart at the moment I choose to eat or not. I am callusing my heart further to the tender voice of the Spirit OR I am tendering my heart to Him.
5. Going into the kitchen to get the food won’t be as rewarding or as easy to do if I don’t have my kitchen filled with foods that I find hard to resist…I have had to stop having ready-made chocolate chip cookie dough in the fridge, for instance. That is something I have an impossible time resisting (for now). Also, I can have an open bible on the counter…a reminder that God invites me to feast on Him instead of on food that I don’t need and that won’t fill the emptiness in my heart.
6. If I have gotten all the way to the point of eating it, I can still stop the wreck! Mid-bite, I can get up and throw it out! I have done this before…not often, I will admit. If I have allowed the chain of events to get this far, it is TOUGH for me to have the willingness to stop mid-sin. 🙁
I know that praying about all of this at other times of the day when I am not in the middle of it helps empower me when the temptation does come along. Praying that God will change my want to, or like David prayed in Psalm 51 that God would grant me a willing spirit to sustain me.
I do believe this…that 2 Chronicles 16:9 says that the eyes of the Lord look throughout the earth for those whose hearts are fully committed to him. Even in the moment, if I call out, “Lord! I want YOUR will!,” if I am “fully committed” in THIS moment, then this same verse says that he will see my heart and he will strengthen me in this moment. THIS MOMENT MATTERS. I don’t want to minimize the moment. Our enemy loves it when we diminish the value of a moment.
So those are my “links” in my chain leading to an eating “wreck.” And the subsequent plan for breaking the chain at any point in time.
How about you? What series of mini-events might lead you to an eating wreck? What can you do to break the chain at any point in the series?